The Best Road Trip Games for Kids to Get Off Screens and Enjoy the Ride

A Classic Bingo set tops our list of board games, card games, and more

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Road tripping with the family can be an adventure—and sometimes it’s actually an easier way to get where you’re going than air travel. But since kids can get restless on car rides, equipping your vehicle with the best road trip games for kids is essential to an entertaining journey.

Reviewed & Approved

The Regal Games Original Travel Bingo is compact, affordable, and easy to play for kids of all ages. For more open-ended play, the Wikki Stix Travel Playset is appropriate for all ages, self-contained, and can be used in the car or at your destination.

“Having a few age-appropriate options for entertaining kids on a long car ride will help make the trip smoother,” Sara Huberman Carbone, MD, a pediatrician at One Medical in Orange County, California, told Verywell Family. “Consider choosing some activities kids can do on their own and some that involve the whole family to help mix things up.”

Games can be especially helpful for kids who are prone to car sicknesses or if you are aiming for a screen-free ride. “Games that encourage looking outside of the car, such as ‘I Spy,’ will be the best option for someone who is prone to car sickness,” Dr. Huberman Carbone says. “Avoid games where the child needs to look down and focus on a screen or book.”

We looked for games for kids that are easy to play, don’t have a lot of loose parts to lose in the car, and are fun for a variety of ages to create this list.

Here are the best road trip games for kids.

Best Overall: Regal Games Original Travel Bingo

Regal Games Original Travel Bingo Cards

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • No reading required

  • Space saver 

  • Easy to play

Cons
  • Not super exciting

  • Order a second set for more than four boards

Get ready for easy, family fun with this set of four travel bingo game cards. We love that no reading is required to play, because each card features images (plus words) of what players need to find while on the road. The shutter slide cards are self-contained, so there are no small parts, and the flat cards are easy to store in a travel bag or glove compartment. While not a flashy, innovative game, bingo is a classic for good reason, and this set will keep kids looking out the window with the hopes of filing their bingo card.

Age level: 5 years old and up | Number of players: 1-4 (more with additional purchase) | Number of parts: Four boards

Best Open-Ended Play: Rafi Nova Union Square x Rafi Nova Mo-on-the-Go Bag

Union Square x Rafi Nova Mo-on-the-Go Bag

Courtesy of Rafi Nova

Pros
  • Fun for all ages

  • Fits into included bag

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Some kids may want more direction or a specific game to play

Founded by parents with a background in education and travel, Rafi Nova focusses on ethically made products with a focus on giving back. You’ll feel good purchasing this activity bag that provides hours of open-ended fun for kids of all ages. Included in the zippered tote are items like play dough, a magic doodle pad, markers, reusable color form stickers, and much more. Twelve activity cards feature prompts and ideas for how to use all the items in the bag. Since it all packs up in the included bag, this set can move from the car to a restaurant, hotel, or any other destination.

Age level: 2 years old and up | Number of players: Any | Number of parts: 20+

Best for Toddlers: HABA Town Maze Magnetic Puzzle Game

HABA Town Maze Magnetic Puzzle Game

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Self-contained

  • Educational

  • Promotes fine motor skills 

Cons
  • Lamination may show signs of wear

If you’re stumped by how to keep your toddler entertained without a screen, look no further than this magnetic, self-contained puzzle game. The object of the game is to use the attached magnetic pen to move balls to the garage of corresponding colors. This STEM toy can improve hand-eye coordination while promoting independence and concentration.

Age level: 2–5 years old | Number of players: 1 | Number of parts: 1

Best for Preschoolers: Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Books

Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Books

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Mess-free

  • Self-contained with pen storage included

  • Reusable

Cons
  • Requires water

  • Best for solo play

If you’ve never heard of Melissa & Doug’s Water Wow! Books, you’re in for a treat. The paint-with-water coloring books are reusable and mess-free, providing a fun and contained coloring experience for young kids. There are countless themes like outer space, animals, vehicles, fairy tales, and ABC practice, so it’s easy to find an appealing topic for your kids. Grown-ups will appreciate that there’s a storage spot in each book to hold the water pen.

Age level: 3 years old and up | Number of players: One | Number of parts: Two

Best Open-Ended Play Runner-Up: Wikki Stix Travel Playset

Wikki Stix Traveler Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Self-contained

  • Open-ended fun

  • Unlimited number of players

Cons
  • Some kids may want more direction or a specific game to play

Clean, quiet, and fun, Wikki Stix are flexible, shapeable sticks of wax-covered yarn that come in a variety of colors. The safe, non-toxic, and American-made toys are amusing for all ages and great for open-ended play. The travel playset comes with everything kids need to stay busy, including 144 sticks in 12 colors and a 12-page booklet of awesome ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Kids can stick their creations on car windows or use them on any flat surface like a book cover or a plate. The handy carrying case is perfect for holding all your kiddo’s creations. 

Age level: 3 years old and up | Number of players: Unlimited | Number of parts: 150+

Best for Older Kids: What Do You Meme? Shotgun!

What Do You Meme? Shotgun!

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Fun for older kids

  • Self contained in drawstring bag

  • Driver can participate

Cons
  • Reading required

  • Some mature cards

A fun family game, this choice is super easy to play: One player reads the prompt card, and the rest of the players play that card. Simply keep moving through the deck and prompts may be “would you rather” questions, trivia, or more. While the age recommendation is for 12 years old and up, many reviewers say they can play with younger kids and can skip cards that may seem too mature. We like that this is something the driver can also play—as long as they’re not reading!

Age level: 12 years old and up | Number of players: 2+ | Number of parts: 200 cards, drawstring pouch, and instructions

Best Book: Would You Rather? Made You Think! Edition

Would You Rather? Made You Think! Edition

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Option to make questions into a game

  • Portable

Cons
  • Reading required for at least one player

Learn all about your family and laugh a lot with this interactive book that’s also crafted as a game. The book is chock-full of “would you rather” questions. If you choose to make this into a game, select one “judge” in your group, and each person will need to provide humorous, creative, or logical explanations for their answer. The judge then selects who wins each round. If you don’t want to make it a game, just read the questions, and each traveler can answer while likely laughing and learning more about their family in the process. This type of game passes Dr.   Huberman Carbone’s requirements for ideal road trip games too. “Games where kids use their imagination, ask and answer questions, or sing songs can be fun without requiring unsafe movement in the car,” she says.

Age level: 7 years old and up | Number of players: Unlimited | Number of parts: 1

Best Card Game: Skillmatics Guess in 10

Skillmatics Guess in 10

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Self contained in card packs

  • Variety of topics have wide appeal

Cons
  • Reading is required to play with the cards

Fun and portable, this game could be played with two to six players or with your group broken into teams. The goal is to ask questions to guess what’s pictured on the card, with the help of clue cards and bonus questions. This kid-friendly game comes in lots of categories including animals, legendary landmarks, foods around the world, dinosaurs, and more. For younger kids, there’s a Junior version that’s geared toward 3- to 6-year-olds that doesn’t require reading and is still lots of fun.

Age level: 6 years old and up | Number of players: 2 to 6 players | Number of parts: 50+ cards

Best Trivia: Who Knows More? Kids or Adults Trivia

Who Knows More? Kids or Adults Trivia Game

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Engages the whole family

  • Trivia questions build knowledge

Cons
  • Need more than one adult to play

Pit the adults in the car against the kids in this fast-moving trivia game. With two card decks—one for adults and one for kids—you’ll breeze through the category questions and try to gain points for your team. A well-rounded team is helpful since the categories include pop culture, history, science, and random facts. You will need more than one adult to play, since the adult driver can’t safely read the cards, but they can still answer the questions.

Age level: 8 years old and up | Number of players: 2 or more | Number of parts: 600+ cards

Best Board Game: Hasbro Gaming Travel Battleship

Travel Battleship

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Exact same as full size game

  • Engaging game 

  • Ability to “pause” game

Cons
  • Limited to two players

  • Tiny pegs are easily lost

Travel battleship is just like the full size game, only smaller and more portable. Made with boards that store all the parts and easily close, the game can even be “paused” for bathroom breaks simply by closing the boards. While fully portable, the pegs are small and can get lost or dropped in the car, so it’s best for older kids, especially those that really enjoy Battleship

Age level: 7 years old and up | Number of players: 2 players | Number of parts: 50+ cards

Final Verdict

We really suggest going with the classic Regal Games Original Travel Bingo because it’s reusable, compact, and can even be played by those prone to car sickness. For a fun, portable option that could either be a simple conversation starter or a competitive game, the Would You Rather? book is tons of fun and easily engages a car full of people. 

How We Selected the Best Road Trip Games

We aimed for games that offer a variety of activities, work for different age needs, don’t require movement, have a range of prices, and aren't loud or distracting to the driver. Other factors included our expert recommendations, shipping and return policies, and availability. User reviews (and complaints) were also helpful to find games that live up to their promises of quality and customer service.

What to Look for in Road Trip Games for Kids

Use these tips to find the best games for the kids in your family. 

Age Level

Find a game that fits the age level of your group. If it’s too easy, the gameplay will move too quickly or not keep kids engaged. If it’s too hard, kids won’t want to play. Use the age recommendations on the packaging for a helpful guide. 

Number of Players

A car can only hold so many people, so the key to successful road trip games are ones that can be played alone or with a limited number of people. 

Game Requirements

Since you’ll be playing these games in a car, avoid games with lots of loose pieces. We found games that don’t require a flat surface or table to play, since that’s nearly impossible to maintain in a moving car. 

Safety

“Select a game where the child can stay safely in their seat with their seat belt buckled,” shares Dr. Huberman Carbone. She reminds us to think of the driver, “Avoid games that may cause the driver to become distracted by noise, lights, or other activities.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are some good free road trip games to play?

    Aim for some classics here—they’ve been around forever because they are fun. Games like I Spy, 21 Questions, Hangman, and Tic-Tac-Toe are all fun, free, and require little to no materials. For musical fun, try taking turns to be the car DJ and have a family sing along.

  • How do you make a long drive fun?

    Kids love surprises and love being in charge. If you are bringing a variety of road trip games, don’t reveal your stash all at once. Let them decide something fun on the trip, whether that’s a rest stop treat, which tourist attraction to visit, or what songs play for their 30-minute DJ shift, they’ll appreciate the chance to be the boss. For a break between games, try family-friendly podcasts or audiobooks that will pass the time and engage the whole family.

  • What can you do to prevent car sickness?

    There’s a mix of preventative and in-the-moment steps you can take. “Distracting your kids with music or audiobooks can be helpful, as well as opening the windows intermittently to increase ventilation,” Dr. Huberman Carbone says. “Offer a light snack prior to travel and avoid heavy meals. There are over-the-counter medications that can be taken prior to travel which may help to prevent motion sickness. Families can reach out to their pediatrician to discuss if medication is a good option for their child and if so, what the proper dosage is.”

Why Trust Verywell Family

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of a 12-year-old son, 9-year-old son, and 5-year old daughter. Maya’s kids like to play lots of games in the car including a family favorite of “Who Am I?” with people ranging from well-known celebrities to hard-to-guess family acquaintances. When her crew tires of games, playing DJ is always a popular option.